Nearly 30K stuffed animals fly during Calgary Hitmen’s Teddy Bear Toss night

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The WHL’s Calgary Hitmen fell short in their quest to reclaim the Teddy Bear Toss world record.

One week after the AHL’s Hershey Bears saw 34,798 teddy bears fly to their ice and break the Hitmen’s 2015 record, the crowd inside the Saddledome made it rain with fur Sunday afternoon after Kaden Elder’s first period goal. The 18,015 fans, many of whom brought large plastic bags filled with stuffed animals, helped break a franchise Teddy Bear Toss record with a total of 29,635, up from the 28,815 collected three years ago.

“It was an awesome experience and something I’ll never forget,” Elder said via the Hitmen website. “The atmosphere in the rink was unbelievable with all the fans and the teddy bears. It was definitely an adrenaline rush and when it went in I was thinking about the celebration and kind of zoned out because I was trying to just take in the moment and enjoy every second of it. It just a surreal moment.”

After a 41-minute cleanup delay, the Hitmen went on to win 6-3 over the Kamloops Blazers.

The Hitmen have now collected a total of 377,583 stuffed animals since their first Teddy Bear Toss promotion in 1995.

The event helps benefit 70 local agencies, including the Salvation Army, Calgary Food Bank, Siksika Nation and Hospice Calgary. The Hitmen will spend Monday delivering some of stuffed animals to Alberta Children’s Hospital.

MORE: Teddy Bear Toss season is the best season

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Calgary Hitmen fans make 24K stuffed animals fly during Teddy Bear Toss (Video)

Hitmen / YouTube
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Congratulations, Vladislav Yeryomenko, you were this year’s Teddy Bear Toss goal scorer for the Western Hockey League’s Calgary Hitmen.

Yeryomenko’s goal at 9:36 of the first period during their game Sunday vs. the Moose Jaw Warriors was the sign for Hitmen fans to launch their teddy bears inside the Saddledome. Boy, it sure did rain plenty of fur.

Here’s what it looked like:

And here’s a fan’s eye view:

After a clean up delay of approximately 40 minutes , the game resumed but the Hitmen would fall to the Warriors 6-3. The counting, as you would imagine, took some time, but when they were finished it was announced that an astounding 24,605 stuffed animals were collected, which will go to 60 local charities.

“It’s an unforgettable moment,” Yeryomenko said via the Hitmen website. “It’s possible it can only happen once in your life and it happened to me. I enjoyed the moment of it all.”

There were 23,924 stuffed animals tossed during last year’s game, and the Hitmen hold the record of 28,815 bears, which was set in 2015.

The Hitmen have been holding this event since 1995 and are their fans are the true leaders in tossing those bears. Including this Sunday’s total, the team has collected 347,948 stuffed animals for local charities. Just last weekend the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears held their Toss event and fans there set a team record with an impressive 25,017 stuffed animals hitting the ice.

This once again proves that the Teddy Bear Toss is the greatest promotion in all of sports.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Lightning prospect Brayden Point’s patience pays off at world juniors

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No one wants to be the extra forward.

However, when Canada named Brayden Point its’ 13th forward for the world junior hockey championship, they used the Martin St. Louis’ example. St. Louis was part of a group of forwards, who rotated as the extra forward for Canada at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.

“The coaching staff told me about Martin St. Louis (at the Olympics),” said Point. “That’s a guy that’s making $6 million a year. It’s part of the team.”

The 18-year-old, who has 17 goals and 44 points with the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Western Hockey League, was in unfamiliar territory when the Under-20 tournament began Boxing Day.

“It’s a little different for sure, but I don’t think it’s tough. It’s awesome when we’re winning games,” he said. “The goal is the gold medal so it’s definitely not tough to watch other guys compete.”

Being patient and waiting for an opportunity has paid off for Point, who was selected in the third round (79th overall) by Tampa Bay at last June’s draft.

During the first period of Canada’s 8-0 quarterfinal win over Denmark Friday, St. Louis Blues’ prospect Robbi Fabbri was sidelined with a high ankle sprain. Fabbri, the Blues’ first round pick (21st overall) in 2014, will miss the remainder of the tournament. In Fabbri’s absence, Point was promoted.

“I’m disappointed obviously for Robby cause it is a huge loss for our team,” said Canadian coach, Benoit Groulx. “But I think Pointer has been very good with us since camp opened.”

Point netted his second of the tournament giving Canada a 7-0 lead during the third period Friday.

I thought I played pretty well going into a bigger role,” said Point. “You never like to see anyone go down.”

With Fabbri out, Groulx juggled his lines moving Point up to join Ottawa Senators prospect Curtis Lazar and top prospect Connor McDavid.

“I just think Connor needs that a little bit with them, a guy that can play with him, that can make plays with him,” explained Groulx. “We like to balance our lines with speed, with size, with skill.”

Added Lazar, Canada’s captain: “Brayden Point did a great job of stepping in. He fit in nicely with me and Connor, we were happy to get him a goal. He’s been a competitor and a player, for something to happen like that, it is the game of hockey and the way she goes sometimes but now there’s extra more motivation to win it for him.”

Canada plays Slovakia in Sunday’s semifinal. The Canadians have not won gold at the tournament since 2009.